With the fall of Babylon, those Israelites in captivity seem to have been vindicated from their guilt. Those same Israelites and the generations before them had been defiant and rebellious toward God. Their punishment for this behavior is about to end as God now crushes Babylon! I’m hopeful those in exile were repentant.
Recalling these words would give hope to those living in captivity. “For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has not abandoned Israel and Judah. He is still their God, even though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.” Have you ever felt abandoned by someone you loved or trusted? Scars from that experience run deep. It’s good to know that no matter what, our heavenly Father never abandons us. We are never alone through whatever worldly strife we may encounter. Praise be to God!
There’s a bit of repetition near the end of today’s reading. If verses 15-19 seemed a bit “familiar,” you’re spot on. Jeremiah 10:12-16 says the same thing as Jeremiah 51:15-19. This passage is known as a didactic hymn of praise. That is, it has two purposes: (1) intends to teach us a moral lesson, and (2) praises God’s power.
We should to take note when portions of Scripture are used in several locations. In Chapter 10, the praise of the one true God is set against the foolishness of trusting in idols. Here we can see it reminds us that God is the supreme ruler, not a nation like Babylon that is going to be reduced to rubble.
Can you think of a time in your life when you were vindicated and cleared of suspicion or blame? Maybe it was something as simple as a broken cookie jar as a kid. The question that rings in my head is, “who broke the cookie jar?” In those moments, everyone points the finger. None of the children wants to upset mother. But when someone else steps up to take responsibility, the feeling of relief at not being a suspect anymore is great.
Likewise, the Israelites would experience relief when their oppressors were silenced. The Israelites would have their freedom returned to them. The extreme feeling of liberation may be somewhat be tainted with a new question. “Now what?”
That’s been my biggest question about the return from captivity. How will the Israelites respond? Will they continue to be manipulated by false gods or will they finally realize their folly and be true to God alone? Other books of the Bible reveal this part of the story for us, like Nehemiah.
Our vindication or justification comes because of what Jesus did for us. Jesus’ sacrifice was for us and has wiped our slate clean! We continue to mess up, but with the promise of salvation given to us who believe and trust in God, we know our future is held securely in God’s hands.
“He is the Creator of everything that exists, including his people, his own special possession.” Take some time to cherish being God’s creation. Praise be to God!
Let’s pray. Thank you, God, for how you love you your people so intensely. I feel so safe knowing that I am in Christ and therefore held closely by you. Forgive me for those times when I mess up. Thank you for the grace you offer. Fill me with your wisdom so I can help others understand you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.